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Philadelphia promotes two internet subscription aid programs to households

To raise awareness of the Affordable Connectivity Program, the City of Philadelphia is running an awareness campaign to promote the program.

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As the pandemic has shown, connection to the internet has become a modern staple in society, work, and social life. One program that reduces the cost of an internet connection for lower income households is the Affordable Connectivity Program, a program that the City of Philadelphia wants households to adopt.

The ACP is a program under the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that will be expanded upon by the City to provide more connections for families.

The program is similar to another program currently implemented in the City: the PHLConnectED program, though the ACP will help households afford necessary broadband internet access used for work, school, and healthcare, among other uses.

The difference between the two programs is that PHLConnectED is for households with children grades K-12, though a household can benefit from both programs.

To raise awareness of the ACP program, the CIty has launched a campaign for the benefit of all Philadelphia households, applicable to those with or without school-aged children.

The ACP provides a discount of up to $30 per month on broadband service costs for eligible households. Combined with low-cost options and other means of cost reduction, some internet subscriptions may even become free for some households.

Beyond just internet costs, the ACP has partnered with participating broadband providers to give a benefit that provides up to $100 per household towards a one-time purchase of a computer, laptop, or tablet if the household contributes more than $10 and less than $50 in purchase through the provider.

For Philadelphians seeking to find out if they are eligible, households can visit getacp.org/phl or dial 2-1-1 to learn of eligibility and the steps to take to apply. The website link provides Spanish and Chinese translation, and the 211 hotline operates 24/7 with availability in 150 languages.

The City's network of Digital Navigators is trusted in support with assessing eligibility and program applications, of whom are trusted community members trained to assist with device access, digital skills-building, and internet adoption.

Last year, PHLConnectED was extended by the City to operate through July 2023. While sponsored internet service will end then, the program will continue to support pre-K to grade 12 families with their applications to the Affordable Connectivity Program, ensuring these families will continue to have help accessing free or low-cost internet beyond July 2023.

“PHLConnectED enabled more than 23,100 free internet connections for our families over three years. Now that ACP is in place, we can extend the program’s longevity and evolve it in a way that continues to meet our families’ needs while leveraging federal funds,” said Ashley Pollard, Digital Inclusion Manager for the Office of Innovation and Technology. 

“The need for internet access didn’t disappear when students returned to the classroom. We’ll continue to partner with the School District of Philadelphia, charter schools, parochial schools, and other local education agencies to ensure their students can access digital schoolwork and homework,” she continued.

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